teaching tips blog


Apr 20, 2013

Credit by Examination

Becky Cooke

A question I am frequently asked by homeschool groups I speak to is, “How can students acquire college credit while in high school other than by taking college courses?” One answer is through credit by examination. The term basically means credit that a college awards based on the score that students receive on a national standardized test. The major tests that fall into this category include AP (Advanced Placement), CLEP, and DSST tests. Each college has its own policy as to which tests will be accepted and what score is required to receive credit. This information is usually available on the college website.

Let’s look at each of these tests:

  • Advanced Placement courses and tests were covered by Diane in her blog of November 14, 2012. Take a look at it because it’s very thorough.
  • CLEP tests are another way to accumulate college credit and save money while doing so. It is advantageous for your teen to take the CLEP test as soon as possible after studying the course material while the material is still fresh in his mind. There are many study tips and test prep resources available to students prior to taking a CLEP test. These tests are administered through the College Board where you can find up-to-date information on all 33 tests that are available.  
  • DSST tests are similar to CLEP tests. They were originally developed for military personnel. Now, all 38 of them are available to the general public. If there isn’t a CLEP test available for your subject, check to see if there is a DSST test you can take.

In all of these categories of credit by examination, it is important for you to become familiar with your college of choice’s policies so you can make the best economical decision as to which tests your teen will take when. I suggest that teens should prepare thoroughly, beyond the high school course, before taking the tests so they will score well enough to receive college credit. In the testing section of our high school website, you will find more detailed information about each test as well as valuable test prep suggestions.

If you are member of HSLDA and have specific questions as to the viability of a test for your teen, please give Diane or me a call at 540.338.5600 or email us at highschool@hslda.org. We are always available to help you.